2,000 troops take part in major training exercise


Soldiers parachuted in from an RAF Hercules plane as part of a training operation to ensure British troops are ready to deploy at a moment's notice.

The three-week Exercise Joint Warrior involves 2,000 troops drawn from most parts of the Army and RAF, and some from the Royal Navy.

Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Mann, commanding officer of Second Battalion the Parachute Regiment (2 Para), said it is the biggest training exercise of the year and is to ensure they are "not strangers when we meet for the first time".

The final training exercise, to attack an insurgent stronghold, involved around 700 troops flying from Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk to Stanta training ground near Thetford, Norfolk.

A company of 180 jumped from an RAF Hercules in smaller groups, with the rest flown in by helicopter.

Lt Col Mann said 2 Para spent the last 10 months training to become a high readiness battalion, and alternates with its sister battalion 3 Para.

"Our training started as soon as we came off readiness last May and we always go back to basics," he said.

"We make sure that we've built the team from the bottom up and this effectively is testing the battalion working for the brigade at the highest level."